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Sneaky, Underhanded Insurance Adjuster Tactics—And How We Respond

After an accident, victims typically seek compensation from the person who hurt them to cover medical bills, lost wages, and other costs. In many cases, this means making a claim on the defendant’s insurance policy and negotiating with an insurance adjuster.

Unfortunately, the insurance industry has developed a well-deserved reputation for sneaky, underhanded tactics designed to deprive accident victims and their families of meaningful compensation. Call Ball, Kirk & Holm, P.C. today. From our offices in Waterloo and Iowa City, we can meet to review your case.

Our Iowa personal injury attorneys have negotiated many settlements for clients, and we have seen these underhanded tactics up close. Helpfully, we have developed strategies for countering them, which we explain in more detail in this post.

Tactic #1: Delay an Investigation

Insurers agree to cover a loss if it qualifies under the insurance contract. For a car accident, that would mean their insured was at fault for the crash. Unfortunately, many insurance adjusters delay any type of investigation. They don’t want to hear from witnesses, and they might be impossible to get ahold of by phone.

There is a reason for this tactic: they are putting pressure on you as the victim.

Insurance adjusters know that most people need to work to support themselves. Bodily injuries cost money for treatment, but they also prevent many people from returning to work soon after the accident. Consequently, accident victims feel intense financial stress. Insurers know this—and they hope this stress pushes you to accept their first settlement offer. They want you to feel desperate.

We counter this tactic by reminding insurance companies of their duty under state law to promptly investigate an accident without delay. If they refuse, they have engaged in bad faith, and we might even sue them.

Tactic #2: Deny Fault

Sometimes it’s obvious who is to blame for an accident. That means the insurance company should know right off if it needs to pay out a claim.

Unsurprisingly, many adjusters will pretend the evidence isn’t clear. They might flatly deny that their insured was responsible in any way for the accident.

Another tactic is to accept partial responsibility but haggle over whether the victim also contributed to the accident. That would reduce the amount of compensation paid to a claimant.

We counter by finding as much evidence as we can to reconstruct what happened. This allows us to confidently argue that the other side is fully to blame for the accident and should pay compensation quickly.

Tactic #3: Offer a Very Low Settlement

You can be sure that any settlement offer—when it finally comes—will be low. They don’t care. Insurance adjusters figure someone without a lawyer might not know how much their injuries are worth. There’s always a chance a desperate accident victim grabs at the first offer because they don’t know they are entitled to much more.

Offering low settlements also drags out the process, increasing the financial stress a victim feels. We might need to go back and forth for months to finally get the insurance company to offer meaningful compensation.

We counter this tactic in several ways. First, we know how much someone with similar injuries has received in a settlement, so we can spot a “low ball” offer right off. Second, we remind insurers that they run a risk of losing at trial if they don’t come forward with a fair settlement.

Tactic #4: Tell You that You Don’t Need a Lawyer

Insurance adjusters sometimes advise victims that a lawyer is an unnecessary expense. With money tight, many people will unfortunately believe them. They negotiate without the benefit of a seasoned Iowa personal injury attorney.

You should absolutely hire a lawyer for your case. At Ball, Kirk & Holm, P.C., we represent clients on contingency fee agreements, which means you’ll never pay any upfront legal fees. We only charge based on a percentage of what you win. That means you won’t owe us a thing unless we win your case. Call us today. We have offices in Iowa City and Waterloo and can drive out to meet you, if necessary.

Tactic #5: Force You to Litigate

Under Iowa insurance regulations, an insurer must settle a claim once it becomes apparent that it is valid. That means they should come to the bargaining table in good faith and pay up to the policy limit, if necessary, to settle a claim.

You probably aren’t surprised to hear by now that many adjusters will refuse to follow this rule. Instead, they might simply refuse to ever offer fair compensation. In effect, they are challenging accident victims to file a lawsuit in court and litigate.

Going to court has risks. For one, you might lose. But it’s risky for insurance companies, too. They might lose—and lose big. Settling a case helps each side know how much they will get or pay. With a trial, the jury will decide how much the claim is worth.

At Ball, Kirk & Holm, P.C., we easily counter this tactic by going ahead and filing a lawsuit. Our Iowa personal injury lawyers know their way around a courtroom and aren’t afraid of litigation. In fact, we make it a priority to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires.

When insurance adjusters see us across the room, they know we mean business. And they often feel an incentive to settle before a jury trial becomes necessary.

Fight Back: Contact Our Iowa Personal Injury Attorneys Today!

Our firm is proud to help accident victims throughout the state seek compensation when they are hurt in an accident. We handle the full range of claims, including car and truck accidents, as well as premises liability claims. You should never negotiate for compensation by yourself. Insurance adjusters would like to see nothing better than a victim without a legal team.

Instead, call our law firm today to schedule a free consultation. We are available 24/7 for our clients and can answer any question you have.